Class Discussion using Question Cards

9 Jan

Today was a good day. Today was a great day!

And that’s a lot coming from a feverish, coughin sick gal writing a blog about WORK on a Friday night.

I got to debrief the responses from Google Forms today (see last post) and then use my Question Cards to get a great discussion going in class while I sat in the back watching the problem get solved. And not by just a handful of students, but with about 75% student involvement (as in walking up to the board, discussing out loud, and contributing to the problem) and 100% attention, even if from the sidelines.

So Question Cards is actually something that’s actually mine, unlike pretty much all my other lesson ideas. In my second year of teaching while getting my credentials, I had to video record myself teaching and analyze it. I basically saw that when I got “class participation” to work on a problem, I ended up talking to only a couple of students and to make it worse, I would actually REPEAT what they said or RE-EXPLAIN what they already explained. What a way to trust my class to do it. Ever.

So I came up w/ Question Cards. Here’s how they work:

  • Everyone gets a card with their name on it, the value of the card, and the date it’s due (usually 1 week later)
  • A relatively difficult, but do-able problem is given in class for the class to solve together.
  • Whoever participates by asking questions to PEERS and/or by helping to contribute to the problem gets their Question Card taken away.
  • At the end of the week, I go through the cards I had collected and give them their due points. Those who did not get it taken away now has TWO for the following week, the new one worth 10 points, the old one now being worth 8.

This has definitely gone through many mutations (and still does). It had started off as a homework check thing where I chose random names to go up and do one of the hard problems from the hw. The kids had to ask either sincere questions or leading questions to help the person called up to solve the problem. I pretty much vary it depending on the class maturity and content.

Here are some reasons why I love this:

  • Students have a week to get rid of their cards. If they were absent, no big deal, they have the other days to get rid of it.
  • The super participatory ones get their cards taken away on the first day and so you can use the excuse “let’s let some others get a chance at getting rid of their card” to hear from the more quiet ones.
  • No one is sleeping. Everyone is awake and trying (even if only w/ their neighbors for the time being)
  • They get less afraid of making mistakes, they’re more bold in asking questions to their peers, and they take ownership of the white board. =)
  • I get to sit and watch them make mistakes and then work their way out of their mistakes. =) This is my favorite part. I feel like the proud parent of Squirt on Finding Nemo when he finds his way back into the EAC when I get to watch my kiddies work their way out of a mistake w/out looking to me for hints and clues.

Here is the PDF of what I print out on colorful cardstock. I had Title 1 laminate a couple sets and my TA’s cut it. Now I just use transparency marker to write their names on them.

Dang I wish I had recorded today. What a contrast it wouldve been to see from that first video entry. It would’ve made a great entry for National Boards. =T

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One Response to “Class Discussion using Question Cards”

  1. webmaths June 1, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    I really like your question cards! I have experienced some really good lessons where the teachers are given control of the lesson and teach their peers off the whiteboard.

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